Tutorials > Copperplate Tutorial by SMK

Copperplate Minuscules - Group 1

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NevadaDeb:
Hi Salman,

Things I am in the process of changing, thanks to your incredibly helpful suggestions and Harvest Crittenden’s video posted in Erica’s “Posture and Ergonomics” thread of the General Discussion board.

I had to think carefully about your suggestions, to:

——Get the shade thicker yet. I couldn’t seem to do that without thinking about how I could do it successfully. This led me to Erica’s thread, in search of what I could change in my posture and pen hold, to help facilitate those thicker shades. It wasn’t happening with my death grip on the holder.

——Working on consistency of angle by rotating the paper to match the slit in the tines. I feel like I’m working almost completely sideways and want to keep shifting the paper back to a more upright position. I unconsciously want to change the rotation back to my comfort position while doing a less angled Cancelleresca Corsiva hand. Pointed pen is immensely challenging and there is so much more to remember with every stroke.

——Trying to form new habit of moving the paper every few words back to my sweet spot, instead of stretching my arm out to get to the end of the line. What works with broad pen doesn’t necessarily work with pointed pen. Incredibly helpful suggestion.

——Keeping practice sessions short, 15-30 minutes, then a break to stop and study letterforms, and let my hand relax. Another extremely helpful suggestion.

——Look at next set of letters and words after the break, to see if it looks better. (Yep, it does!)

In addition, from Harvest Crittenden’s video,  I learned that  I should be working on a FLAT writing surface for pointed pen work, instead of an angled one, which I’ve used for decades in my broad pen work. I switched, and I find it much more comfortable, more relaxing for my eyes and hand.

I also learned to use a cushioning sheet and a guard sheet, with a plastic coated playing card under my hand, to help move my hand more freely rather than rely on wrist action, something you have noted in my first post. It was like skating on ice at first, but as I got into the rhythm, it got a bit easier and my ascenders are getting noticeably less wobbly.

*Note: I saw in someone’s video—it may have been Schin’s, but I’m not certain—that she was using a thin glove with the thumb, index and third finger cut out, rather than a guard sheet to protect the paper from oils in the hand. I like this idea, and want to try it.

—I’m back to practicing thicker shades and remembering to start the downstroke with full shade, to get a squared top. These are the first square tops I’ve ever gotten! I recall you mentioning to lift up and turn the pen at the hairline to where we’re sliding off one tine when we go from the shade, to produce nice, thin upstrokes. This is tough for me, as I have been using a “death grip” on my pen holder, and couldn’t easily turn the pen. I am trying to switch to the proper holding of the pen. It still feels unnatural. but I know it’s worth the effort to end the “white knuckle” syndrome.

I will post my progress once I have spent a few days working on all these changes. It’s a lot to remember at one time! But, what a satisfying challenge when I see a good stroke.

Your Group 1 exercises are far more beneficial than I could ever have imagined. At first, I was anxious to move on to the next group, but now I see that the key to success is learning every single nuance of all there is to learn in the Group 1 foundation strokes. I’m in no rush to move ahead now. I just want to see growth and consistency. I'm learning so much from you, it just boggles my mind.

NevadaDeb:
Trying again. Still working on slant consistency, shade thickness consistency, parallel entrances and exits. I have yet to make a truly decent line of words. Thank you for any advice and insight!

Salman Khattak:
@NevadaDeb

This is excellent work Debi. I think you'll have an easier time with slightly thicker shades. You have done a good job of maintaining strong letter shapes with this delicate look.

I don't think you need to work on much here except consistency of size. The letters don't all quite sit on the base line. The waist line is more consistent. Try to include the base and waist lines within your strokes. This tiny adjustment is easier than one would think and results in much more consistent letter heights.

Your exit hairlines after the 'j' have a tendency to be straighter which pushes the next letter away a bit. This doesn't happen all the time but is something you should watch out for.

Let's have one more go at the words in this group. Please feel free to replace a word or two with others if you are bored with these.

- Salman

Lindah:
Great tutorial.  Thanks.
Lindah

NevadaDeb:
Hi Salman,

Thank you so much for your valuable and extremely helpful advice. I'm trying to practice the three things you noted:
1. Widen the shade
2. Entrance hairlines not so upright
3. Pierce the base and waist line.

Progress is slow for me. This is the most difficult hand I've ever attempted to learn. I deeply appreciate your patience!

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